Film Review: Literally, Right Before Aaron

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The cumbersome title Literally, Right Before Aaron refers to one Adam (Justin Long), who was the boyfriend of a hot babe before she became involved with and subsequently engaged to Aaron (Ryan Hansen, who’s handsome and really not all that bad a person here). The impending wedding looms ominously for Adam, who can’t seem to get the girl in question, Allison (Cobie Smulders), out of his mind.

Writer-director Ryan Eggold‘s lackluster excuse for a rom-com largely consists of sequences of Long moping, intermixed with endless glossy flashbacks of him and Smulders back in a happier, romantic time. No jilted heroine of any masochistic chick flick was ever more of a mess than this guy, who’s so far down in the dumps he can’t even get it up to properly bowl with his best bud (John Cho, with a goatee that becomes him not). Of course, he’s an artist, but all his edgy documentarianizing has been shelved for his day job, cranking out product for his boss, Orson Schwartzman (an overripe Peter Gallagher), host of a cheesy nature show. In yet another would-be wackily endearing tribute to The Graduate young filmmakers seem to be so fond of these days, Aaron, after being invited to the wedding by Allison, who obviously must be insane or insanely insensitive, proceeds to trash it in every way possible, while the audience tries their best not to hate this petulant brat’s guts even more.

A bunch of well-known people have, for whatever reason, been corralled into this mess: Cho, Dana Delaney, Lea Thompson (as Long’s mother, although she strangely looks more like his baby sister) and the ubiquitous Luis Guzmán. They’re nothing but cameos, but goofy Kristen Schaal brings her inimitable brand of madness to a lunch scene that’s like a breath of fresh air amidst all the fetid attempts at farce.

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